9 Writing Rules from the Late William Safire

William Safire, who died last September, was, among other things, a longtime columnist and clever commentator on writing issues. Enjoy these pearls.

  1. Do not put statements in the negative form.
  2. And don’t start sentences with a conjunction.
  3. If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
  4. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
  5. Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
  6. De-accession euphemisms.
  7. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  8. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  9. Last, but not least, avoid clichés like the plague.

(From Great Rules of Writing by William Safire)

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